This is, so far, the earliest episode in the Helen story, and shows Helen Nordstrom as a Junior in College. The background to this story is as follows. (The following events take place before the present story; just to avoid confusion!)
Helen witnesses her mother and her dog die in a tragic accident, as a result of which her father goes into depression. She applies for a scholarship at a school in Ohio, with the help of her teachers, and wins it. Her father cannot find the energy to take her in to her freshman year, and Helen sets out to hitchhike to College. She is picked up by a young couple, Jason and Janet, who are in fact on their way to the same town. We learn that, more importantly, the mother of Janet was the lesbian lover of Helen's dead mother, and that the two women have continued their relationship in secret even after Helen's mother got married, and Helen was born. Helen is attracted to Janet, and the two women begin a relationship unknown to Jason.
Helen's freshman year at college is a great success, and she meets up with a famous instrument-maker who has been invited to begin a new program at the college, and Helen is selected to help set up this workshop. She discovers early music (music of the seventeenth century and earlier), whose revival was at its height at that time, and her success in learning to play reproductions of old instruments, and her beautiful voice, set the trajectory of her fame.
Over the first Christmas break, Helen is suggested for a job in Florida, as a companion to a lady millionaire, Juliana Hoffmann. By this time Jason had learned of the ongoing relationship between the two girls, and has reluctantly allowed Helen to move in with them. Juliana learns about the couple from Helen, and invites them down to Florida, and showers them with gifts, including training as a tennis instructor for Janet, and computer equipment for Helen and Jason.
Back in school, Helen is an excellent student, and takes courses in mathematics, physics and computer science, as well as music and art. She makes several instruments at the workshop, and is a student assistant in physics, and an assistant in various tennis programs, as well as being a manager in the new instrument workshop.
Sophomore year proceeds pretty much like freshman year, except that Helen takes up ballet, and Jason is called up for military duty, and has to attend training camp. He is deployed in the Balkans, and dies before he sees action, in a plane accident while landing. Janet is pregnant, and gives birth in December, while still devastated by Jason's death, and Helen promises to help bring up the baby with Janet. Things proceed fairly smoothly, until Helen goes to Florida to Juliana Hoffman during Spring Break. Charismatic Helen is irresistible to some of the young people she meets in Florida, and Janet is deeply unhappy with Helen's little affairs.
This story begins shortly after the beginning of Junior Year. Helen has become well known over the summer because of a music program that is spotlighted on TV. Helen in picked for a minor role in a Mozart opera, and then another minor role in The Marriage of Figaro. Quite by accident, she is on the spot when a car crashes into a tree during a freak early blizzard, and helps to rescue a victim. The grateful parents of the girl happen to be music lovers, and Helen is loaned a priceless unaltered 17th century violin, and Helen's fame as a violinist takes off.
Helen also befriends an amnesia victim, Cindy, who becomes a major influence on Helen in later episodes. Helen meets a number of long-lost cousins, especially the two youngest, Marika and Heikki, who become very close friends.
Please note that the characters and the institutions in this story are entirely fictional! I love them all, but they only exist in our imaginations. (I should add this disclaimer to all my stories . . .)